In a moving tribute, the Minnesota Vikings honored 100-year-old World War II veteran Ray Robinson prior to primetime home game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Monday night (Dec. 23) game against the Green Bay Packers brought more than 66,000 fans to the stadium and many became visibly emotional when a pregame video of Robinson played detailing his life of service. Wearing a Vikings jersey with the number 99 – Robinson was 99 at the time of the game but celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 4 – Robinson was flanked by active-duty members of the United States Armed Forces as the video chronicled the distinguished service career of Robinson.
A member of the famed all-Black unit, the Buffalo Soldiers, Robinson earned three Bronze Stars – a medal given for distinguished heroic or meritorious achievement or service. The former soldier said he lost several friends during the war including his best friend.
“After losing all kinds of buddies – I lost the best buddy I ever had, Herman Rochelle, as good of a guy as you’ll ever meet – I always say, ‘How did I ever get back here after losing so many buddies? Why am I still here? Somebody up there likes me,’” said the decorated combat veteran. “God blessed me to live this long and I’m very happy about that.”
A video of Robinson being honored is available on the Minnesota Vikings website at www.vikings.com/video/u-s-bank-hometown-hero-ray-robinson.